When Prehistory burst onto the scene in the middle of the 19ᵗʰ century there was a huge collective shock. No, the world had not been created in seven days; it was obviously too short a time. From that day on, Prehistory began to have a profound and confusing impact on modern man. Modern art has sometimes “translated” this shock, since artists express things they are obsessed by instead of bottling up their emotions. That is the road of research that Rémi Labrousse, modern art historian, embarked on. Last autumn he invited us to share the fruits of his research during a lecture he gave at the Pôle d'Interprétation de la Préhistoire in Les Eyzies: a follow-up to the group exhibition entitled “Préhistoire, une Énigme Moderne” held last summer at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. According to him, modern art, deeply affected by prehistoric art, reveals a sensitivity to this rich past, unlike History, reversing any linear vision of progress and imposing the idea of a loop, and therefore infinity. You can’t put a date to art. It just IS.
René Castanet was loved by all
René Castanet was loved by all

On February 28, 2013 René Castanet, aged 89, passed away. He was a ray of sunshine in the Castel Merle Valley and in our memories he will always symbolise those Périgord families who have devoted their lives to sharing with others the wonders of prehistory, discovered right there beneath their feet. The son of Marcel and the grandfather of Isabelle (who is still showing people around the spectacular Castel Merle Valley with its decorated shelter dwellings), René had built up a sort of ideal museum close to his home, next to the little garden where he shaped flint with the most amazing dexterity.
In this enchanting environment, thousands of visitors were bitten by the prehistory bug on meeting such a delightful character – so approachable and with both feet on the ground.

Gilbert Pémendrant, 77 years of age, the king of La Fuste (as his farm is called), the lord of Bernifal (his painted cave), has been honoured by the jury of the International Festival of Archaeology Films in Nyon, where the film Sophie Cattoire made about him (“Le Dernier Paysan Préhistorien”) received a prize in the form of an “Oscar” carved out of Swiss granite. Marvellous!
Female silhouette, Cussac Cave

Cussac, decorated sepulchral cave
the less it’s tampered with the more it tells

Discovered in Le Buisson-de-Cadouin in the year 2000 by speleologist Marc Delluc, it has been named the “Lascaux of engraving”. For 10 years the conservation and research programs, conducted by the Service Régional de l’Archéologie and prehistorian Jacques Jaubert, have been beyond reproach. In a multi-disciplinary lecture given at the PIP, the researchers disclosed their first results and their projects. Exclusively - here on - find out everything there is to know about their activities and see the first reproductions of this amazing cave art, done by Valérie Féruglio.

The first skeleton found in 1909

New excavations at La Ferrassie

After Investigations using archive photos and documents, carried out by anthropologist Diane Laville, to redetermine the placement of the seven Neanderthal skeletons found at La Ferrassie (Périgord) in the last century, the multi-disciplinary scientific team led by Alain Turq, Harold Dibble, Dennis Sandgathe, Paul Goldberg and Shannon Mac Pherron, sensed that part of the site related to two of the skeletons might have remained intact. The 2011 excavations fulfilled their hopes.


(Very Important Périgourdin of the « Pole International de la Préhistoire »)

He waved with a smile that concealed the tears in his eyes, as resplendent as if he had just completed the Tour de France. This was Gilbert Pémendrant, 75 years of age, farmer and owner of Bernifal Painted Cave, before the crowd who had come to applaud him at the first world screening of Sophie Cattoire’s film, “LE DERNIER PAYSAN PREHISTORIEN”, produced by FERRASSIE TV. The grand and brand new auditorium in the Prehistory Welcome Center was “jam-packed”. That Sunday with Gilbert in the limelight will remain in our memories as a dream from the past. In his presence time stood still; joy and emotion spread through the auditorium, almost overwhelming us. We will let Jean Bonnefon, the well-known journalist and merry minstrel, tell us in his own words just what happened on that special Sunday, April 3 at the P.I.P.

Excavations – La Ferrassie 2010

Breaking new ground at La Ferrassie

What if the first appearance of Neanderthals in the Dordogne were much earlier than we thought? The new excavations around the Neanderthal necropolis at la Ferrassie (Savignac-de-Miremont) which revealed seven graves (a man, a woman and five children) in the 20th century may well take us further back in time than we expected. The discovery of undamaged Mousterian strata during first phase exploration carried out between June 21 and June 26, 2010 by an international team of scientists led by Alain Turq and Harold Dibble opened up new dating perspectives and gave a kick in the pants to our vision of the history of mankind.

Man has lived in the Périgord for 450,000 years.
A look at our ancestors — a surefire prehistoric cliff-hanger!

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Musée de l'Homme de Néandertal